INCREASE: The latest data shows that rental vacancy rates have increased.
INCREASE: The latest data shows that rental vacancy rates have increased. Mike Richards GLA221216REAL

Landlords drop Gladstone rent in battle for tenants

WITH plenty of chatter about the Gladstone property market hitting the bottom, the latest rental figures revealed vacancy rates have gone up.

Although Gladstone remains the "most affordable" place to rent in Queensland, in the previous Real Estate Institute of Queensland Market Monitor report vacancy rates had dropped from 10.2% to 8.9% in the September quarter.

However, from September to December last year the vacancy rates rose 1% to 9.9%.

But Gladstone's Ray White principal John Fieldus said the latest figures weren't entirely reliable.

He said the figures for the December report were collected at what was traditionally the worst week of the year.

"The vacancy rate at the end of December was always considerably higher because there is a lot of movement at that time of year with people moving away," Mr Fieldus said.

"The data is distorted and I know that our in-house rate dropped by 2 to 3% by mid-January.

"There has been a hell of a lot people who have moved to town in January ... we're still enduring high vacancy rates (but) we've let more than 100 homes since Christmas."

Mr Fieldus said there were about 600 vacant homes in Gladstone, which was down from about 1000 last year.

"The biggest attraction and its biggest vulnerability is price and we're seeing a lot of people moving from outside the region to town," he said.

REIQ suggested the bump in vacancy rates was "due to the poor economic environment", which made Gladstone one of the most "challenging markets for investors".

REIQ said rental properties were generally vacant for at least four to five weeks.

"Landlords are currently taking a realistic approach, dropping rent to secure tenants," the report read.

"This strategy explains the downward trend in the median rent of three-bedroom houses, two-bedroom units and three-bedroom townhouses of between $10 and $20 per week over the December quarter."



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